Grandson using digital tablet with his grandmother

On Friday, we published a blog informing readers of the expiration of District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Order 2021-038, which extended the public health emergency through May 20, 2021. A consequence of the expiration of the public health emergency in D.C. will be the termination of employees’ right to take “COVID-19 leave” under the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA).

But not so fast! This week, we were alerted that Mayor Bowser has signed a new order, Mayor’s Order 2021-069, that extends the public health emergency “for so long as District of Columbia law extends the emergency.” The D.C. Council has passed legislation authorizing an extension of the public health emergency through July 25, 2021.

As a result, COVID-19 leave under the DCFMLA continues to be available to eligible D.C. employees who are unable to work, during the COVID-19 public health emergency, due to:

  • A recommendation from a health care provider that the employee isolate or quarantine, including because the employee or an individual with whom the employee shares a household is at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19;
  • A need to care for a family member or an individual with whom the employee shares a household who is under a government or health care provider’s order to quarantine or isolate; or
  • A need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable to the employee.

Remember that COVID-19 leave has more lenient eligibility requirements than medical and family leave under the DCFMLA – requiring only 30 days of employment prior to the leave request – and is available to D.C. employees regardless of their employers’ size.

What employers should do

The Mayor’s new order is effective on May 21, 2021, meaning there was no associated gap in employee eligibility for job-protected COVID-19 leave under the DCFMLA.  Employers should continue to offer leave under qualifying circumstances to eligible employees in D.C.

Please note that this post is current as of May 26, 2021. The District’s orders and guidance are evolving rapidly, so be sure to continue to monitor the state of emergency and work with your employment counsel and leave administrators to stay compliant.

What ReedGroup is doing

ReedGroup’s teams are up-to-date on the extension of the public health emergency in D.C., and our software and operational processes ensure that COVID-19 leave continues to be provided to our clients’ employees under qualifying circumstances. We will keep monitoring the situation in D.C. – including emergency status and the effective dates of the enabling legislation – and “toggle” COVID-19 leave as needed in the future.

Stay in the leave law loop by subscribing to our blog and webinar email alerts. If you’re looking for assistance managing claims or to ensure compliance across your organization, ReedGroup has solutions for you. Check out our offerings here.


Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide legal advice. ReedGroup does not provide legal services. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this or any other topic.

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